Bond between Prescott father and son leads to one extraordinary life.
A father and son from Prescott are celebrating this Father's Day weekend for a plethora of reasons. Eric Weaver’s son Austin was born on Father's Day nearly 26 years ago. He was a happy, healthy baby, however, everything seemed to change when he turned 2 years old.
“At 2 years old, he was able to talk, but then all of a sudden he wasn’t able to talk, he was all smiles and then he wasn’t all smiles,” said Eric.
Doctors diagnosed Austin with autism and warned his dad he could remain nonverbal for the rest of his life.
“I’ve been a trainer for 34 years and as a trainer, I don’t take no for an answer anyway, so you’re gonna tell me something like that I’m not gonna believe it, I’m gonna do what I can to turn it around,” said Eric.
A friend gifted him a 'Hooked on Phonics' set and Eric went to work.
“Every night I got off work, we’d sit on the floor, he'd sit between my legs and I’d teach him how to read, we did 'Hooked on Phonics' every day until he could read,” said Eric.
The words began to add up, then they started doing puzzles. Austin’s confidence grew by the minute. Three weeks ago, Eric watched Austin become the first in the family to graduate college. He’s now a co-owner alongside his dad of Get Fit gym at the Prescott Gateway Mall.
“Seeing what we have created here in this gym, I definitely have 100% pride,” said Austin. “You are the only person who predicts your life, not other people, just know that those with autism are unique in their own way.”
On this Father's Day weekend, it’s definitely a message and relationship worth celebrating.
“I’m really proud to say without my father here, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” said Austin.